Florida Proposes End to Costly Juvenile Court Fees
Seeking to join the roster of states that have sought to ease the financial impact of juvenile court fees on families, a bipartisan group of Florida state lawmakers filed two companion measures that would prohibit such charges in the Sunshine State.
While the idea of charging youth and families court fees and fines to help defray the cost of investigation and adjudication of offenders was pitched as reasonable when they were proposed, experience has shown them to be problematic, even counterproductive in real life.
According to a nationwide study by the Juvenile Law Center from 2016, the charges tend to increase recidivism, suck kids further into the juvenile justice system, aggravate existing racial disparities and further strain families that are already struggling financially and emotionally. Given that so many juveniles and families can’t afford to pay them, they are expensive to administer and collect, and lead to longer lockups for youth — at great expense to taxpayers.